New Municipal License Subscription Program Makes GIS Work for Infrastructure




Getting Ready for GITA 2006
By Susan Smith


No Barriers: Connected. Responsive. Prepared

Prompted by the Asian tsunami, and then later, Hurricane Katrina, the GITA Board felt that the theme of this year's conference held in Tampa, April 23-26, should reflect the geospatial industry's call to service and support its ability to respond, stay connected and be prepared for any eventuality.

This year's program circles back to this theme repeatedly. Some of the highlights of the show:
- Last July, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) earmarked for funding the 14 highest growth industries - geospatial among them. GITA was awarded a $700,000 grant to conduct a study of workforce readiness for jobs in the geospatial sector. The grant, a result of President Bush's High Growth Job Training Initiative, was initiated to prepare people to take jobs in the high-growth areas of the American economy.

- According to GITA executive director, Bob Samborski, the study was to define the geospatial industry and its needs, challenges and priorities, for which GITA developed the Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System (GIWIZ).

- The study so far has narrowed down to four definitions of the geospatial industry. To offer feedback on the definition, go to http://www.aag.org/roundtable/

- There will also be three major panels discussions on Tuesday: “Defining and Communicating Geospatial Workforce Demand,” and “Interoperability: Choosing the Right Approach,” which will offer opportunities to discuss workforce issues and GIWIZ.

- A Geospatial Workforce Center will be available on the exhibit floor. Representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Association of American Geographers, and KidZ Online/Geospatial 21 will be on hand to provide an update and videos.

- Birds of a Feather User Forum Breakfasts will focus on specific areas, including electric, gas, GITA Cheetahs (young professionals), public sector and telecom.

- Conference sessions include titles such as “Planning for Mobility,” “GIS and Disaster Management 101,” and “One Call Connection.”


Top News of the Week

The City of Phoenix Aviation Department recently awarded Woolpert, Inc. with a contract to create an enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) for the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Over the next 42 months, Woolpert will be creating and merging data and developing 14 different applications in order to provide the airport with a scalable solution to integrate key processes, data and systems into a centralized GIS. The firm will be performing systems integration, data conversion, photogrammetry, facilities planning, survey and indoor LiDAR (light detection and ranging) services. “Using our unique blend of services, we intend to create a world class information system for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that will produce rapid return on investment,” said Woolpert Vice President and project manager John Przybyla.

John Copple, CEO of Sanborn, announced that the company has been selected to provide light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and digital elevation models (DEM's) for the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Sanborn was contracted to provide high density LiDAR data for the purpose of generating a high resolution DEM that will be used by the State of Minnesota in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for improving floodplain maps and to act as base data for regional hydrologic modeling projects.

Geographic Technologies Group, Inc. (GTG) announced that the Town of Abingdon, Virginia has procured products from GTG's GIS software suite. The Town will be implementing GISmo. This application is a desktop GIS solution that will provide Town staff the ability to map and analyze existing GIS data.

Skyhook Wireless' Loki, the mass consumer LBS application that automatically incorporates a user's exact location into Internet search through the use of WiFi access points, has been selected by NAVTEQ as a category winner in the Navigation Applications Category of the Global LBS Challenge. Executives from wireless carriers, hardware and device manufacturers, and other influential players in the wireless industry served as the official judges and based their final decisions on three criteria: usability, applicability and ease of use. Skyhook Wireless' Loki took highest honors and was named the official winner in its category.

A new, citizen-created online atlas called Platial is bridging the virtual world of online communities with the physical environments of real life by enabling anyone to map their personal experiences and the little corners of the universe that are meaningful to them.

Platial (pronounced PLAY-shul) adds a new dimension to online blogs and journals, letting people map and tag their experiences, memories and opinions to specific places that others can explore. Thousands of people worldwide are discovering places and sharing maps related to hundreds of topics, such as adventure, history, politics, music, architecture, and various life experiences.



Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has completed the acquisition of Geo-Spatial Technologies, Inc. (GSTI), a Springfield, Va., and Seattle, Wa., firm that is a leader in the research, development, and application of novel geospatial technology for advanced 3-D imaging, reconnaissance, remote sensing and mapping systems. The acquisition enhances SAIC's capability and industry position in the area of next-generation system development and integration for urban warfare and homeland security applications and operations.

Every ambulance trust in England is to benefit from greater access to Ordnance Survey's most detailed digital geographic information (GI) from this month. It follows the launch of a pilot agreement aimed at encouraging the use of computerized mapping across the NHS. The plan is to ensure health providers have the reliable information they need to improve patient care while making the most efficient possible use of their resources.

The agreement between the mapping agency and The Information Centre for Health and Social Care, acting on behalf of the NHS in England, was signed in November 2005. It covers more than 600 health services, including primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, NHS trusts and cancer registries. So far 330 have applied to be part of the pilot. Now 31 ambulance trusts are eligible to join.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has completed the acquisition of Geo-Spatial Technologies, Inc. (GSTI), a Springfield, Va., and Seattle, Wa., firm that is a leader in the research, development, and application of novel geospatial technology for advanced 3-D imaging, reconnaissance, remote sensing and mapping systems. The acquisition enhances SAIC's capability and industry position in the area of next-generation system development and integration for urban warfare and homeland security applications and operations.



Announcements

MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, will hold its second quarter fiscal 2006 conference call on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT. The conference call will be Webcast live at www.mapinfo.com/investors or www.investorcalendar.com. The second quarter earnings announcement will be issued at 7:00 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2006. See press release

A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) stresses the importance of spatial thinking in everyone's life. -Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K12 Curriculum recommends embedding spatial thinking across the K-12 curriculum. According to the report, GIS technology can play a powerful role in promoting spatial thinking.

The study, supported by grants from the USGS, NASA, National Geographic Society Education Foundation, National Science Foundation, and ESRI, began in 2000 and brought together experts in geographic education and educational psychology. The panel heard from key organizations and individuals active in GIS education and outreach including instructors and developers who promote integrative and problem-based inquiry approaches to education. As constant proponents of the value of GIS and geographic inquiry in education, ESRI and a number of educators who use ESRI technology gave substantial input.


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